He: Son of an Italian sea captain and a Dalmatian countess spends most of WWII as a POW in Egypt. Post-war, sets up shop making wool track suits worn by the Italian team at the 1948 London Olympics in which Olympics that same young man qualifies for the final of the 400m hurdle race.
SHE: Beautiful young woman from Varese, daughter of shawl makers, is somehow in Wembley and meets the young man with the movie star looks.
THEY: He and she fall in love, marry, start a small business together – not far from the bride’s home town – and raise three children. The business prospers and gets the attention of some pretty influential peeps. A certain American magazine editor – she of the Kabuki-rouge and the belief that “style is everything; it gets you down the stairs” – gives the business her stamp of approval, opening wide the doors of Bloomingdale’s . There a boutique ensues. The business – and bambini – grow, and the young people are all employed in what is now the family firm.
FAST FORWARD: Aside from the family’s primary apparel business are forays – very successful ones, at that – into costume design, carpet and tapestry design, home projects and a chain of lifestyle hotels that would be categorized as the plushiest, over-the-top laps of luxury. And there’s more: that frenzy- generating deal with Target; about a gazillion obsessed consumers elbow their way in to buy up the offerings, most of which sell out within 24 hours.
And how about this? But wait. You’ve known all along, haven’t you, that this tribe of brilliant and accomplished artisans – masters of color, shape and form – couldn’t possibly be any other than the family Missoni. And so it is.